1935 BSA V-9 Light Delivery Van
History of the marque
BSA (Birmingham Small Arms) started business as a gun manufacturer. They later moved into the production of bicycles and later into their more famous motorcycle range. From 1907 until 1938 they tried on a number of occasions to move into the production of 4-wheel cars and vans. In all attempts they were unable to create a long term profitable car business. Their most successful period spanned from 1932 until 1938; the period when our van was built.
The bullet list below highlights the BSA 30’s production schedule:
1932 September, directors announce BSA Cycles' fourth attempt to enter the car trade with a 10 hp 4-
1932 T-9 open four seat four-wheel with a water-cooled four cylinder 9 hp engine (1075 cc).
1932 V-9 Van version also produced.
1932 Another BSA Rear-wheel-drive fluid flywheel 10 hp car, sold alongside the T9.
1932 FW32 Four-wheeled version of the 3-wheeler produced for 1 year
1933 T-9 and V-9 production ceased
1933 Four-cylinder engine version of the three and four-wheeled car was added to the range.
1934 Six-cylinder engine version of the Ten, Light Six 12 hp.
1935 First Scout, Series 2/3
1936 Three-wheeled cars dropped
1936 BSA versions of Lanchester cars dropped
History of our van as related by the previous owner, David Francis Cox on 4th October 2018.
The NZ government in 1934 purchased in a ‘Lamb for cars’ deal, 8 BSA V-9 vans. These came into the country as ‘cowl and chassis’ versions for NZ Post and Telegraph and some were sold on the open market. These cowls were bodied in the post office workshops in Newmarket. It was probably 1935 before these got on the road. We 'think' that our example was probably one of these 8 vehicles.
The vehicle was purchased by Thompson and Hills Ltd, Auckland in 1935 and used in their business until they gave it away to David Cox's grandfather, William Triner on his retirement. William was a long serving Electrical Engineer for Thompson and Hills Ltd. The family think it would have been around 1947/1948. Apparently, the van was not in very good mechanical condition and the family believe if it hadn't been given to their grandfather it would have been dumped.
William did not have a driver’s licence. Therefore, he left the car on the family dairy farm at Stanley Road, Glenfield. At some time after he took delivery of it, he decided to teach himself to drive. He took the vehicle out and drove it down the road. Lost control of the vehicle, ran off the road and hit a tree. Hence the frontal damage on the van. It was never repaired. After that he put the vehicle back on the farm where it stayed until his death.
His daughter and son in law inherited the vehicle. Neil Francis Cox was the son in law. Under their ownership it was shed stored from around 1955/1956. Apart from shifting it a couple of times to different sheds on the dairy farm it never moved. It stayed there until 2011. The family stated at one stage Neil decided to get the vehicle going and overhauled the motor. He put new pistons in and rebuilt the motor. His son stated that he put back the old spark plugs to save money. He never attempted to start the motor.
After Neil's death the vehicle was given to his surviving four sons. Two of the sons, David Francis Cox and John Cox took control of the vehicle. John, a Takapuna Lawyer thought the vehicle was worth mega bucks and did not want the vehicle disposed of because he had intentions of restoring it. He wrote to the BSA Club in England around two years ago and requested details of the vehicle. He supplied a photo of the identification plate on the fire wall. They emailed back that as far as they are aware this vehicle is the only whole surviving vehicle in the world. Unfortunately, David cannot confirm this because John died around 18 months ago. John had the original ownership papers but unfortunately these have been lost since his death.
The vehicle stayed in the storage shed at Stanley Road, Glenfield until the farm was sold to Metlifecare in 2011 for a new retirement village. The vehicle was then shifted to David's place at Taynith Place, Glenfield where it stayed in a shed of sorts until we took delivery of it on 20th September 2018. David advised us that the motor is not seized and still turns over.
With research we also came to the conclusion it was the last one in the world as only 700 were ever built.
Discussions with Harold Kidd as he had owned 2 ex P&T ones found in Rotorua in the 60s, he backgrounded the history and said he had found records in the Turnbull Library of the cars for Meat deals but only 7 vans were in the deal. With this history the club went ahead as it will be a great restoration
The photo gallery below chronicles the arrival of the van and our restoration process.
Click on the photo to stop the slide show.